Clermont Parks welcome youth conservation teams

Noah Yasgur and Hailey Rolfes cut the invasive Autumn Olive shrub at Shor Park.
A swarm of activity at Shor Park in Union Township, as members of the Ohio River Foundation’s Youth Conservation Team work on several projects designed to repair damage from heavy rains that have washed out portions of park trails and pushed sediment into the watershed.

“We’re also removing the invasive Autumn Olive plant, an invasive shrub native to Asia,” said Hailey Rolfes, who attends Harrison High School. “These types of projects can improve conditions in small creeks and tributaries that will help improve water quality in the Ohio River watershed,” said Ohio River Foundation Executive Director Rich Cogen.

“This is a really great program that is helping our parks, while educating the young people involved about watersheds and the environment,” said Clermont Parks’ Director Chris Clingman.

The Ohio River Foundation selected the 10 young people involved in the six-week program that partners with both Clermont and Hamilton County Park Districts.

“In addition to actually doing the work onsite, the young people selected also to have a day of education that supplements the protection and restoration work they are doing,” said Cogen.

As Tony Losekamp from McNicholas High School and Taylor Batty of Madeira High School dug a trench to re-channel water from a trail, they talked about how this experience has taught them to have a greater appreciation of the outdoors and how important it is to take care of nature for future generations to enjoy.

“I just didn’t realize how much physical work would be involved!” said Batty.

“I get a lot of satisfaction out of doing this,” added Noah Yasgur from Sycamore High School, as he cut branches from a large Autumn Olive shrub. “I’ve always been interested in the environment, and thought it would be cool to be able to really get involved in something like this. It will be my major in college.”

Cogen said the Youth Conservation Team has been so successful in its first year that they are moving forward with plans for next year. For more information about the Ohio River Foundation, visit the website